Thursday, November 28, 2013

CR24 - November 23 and 24, 2013

So, what does one do 6 weeks after a 24 hour event and 2 weeks after a hard marathon?  Yep, run another 24 hour event :)

"Any fool can run well on a 70 degree day. It takes a special fool to run a 24 hour, in the rain, in November, with the temps dropping to below 25 degrees. You have got to be drilled off-center to do this."  ~ Wm Keane

The weather called for rain in the morning, dropping temps as a front goes through, and snow during the night.   So, it could be an interesting 24 hours to say the least!!

Friday afternoon I left for VA - Got up there for the early packet pickup and to hang out with some runnin peeps!  Went to dinner with Tim and Pat at Frankie's to fill up on some pre-race pasta fuel and headed back to the park for the night.  

I camped out in my Jeep and woke up early with the lights of the entering cars.  I didn't even bother setting an alarm.  I knew I would be up on time with all the activity going on.  

Team Buttercup
I chilled out in the morning hours and talked strategy a bit with Tim.  It seemed that our plans were similar so we figured we would run together for as much as we could.  I wanted to hit 50 miles in 10:30 or so, then just settle in for the rest of the long, cold, dark night.  I wanted to get as much in as early as I could because I knew that the night was going to be tough.  The rain had held off and we were in for a beautiful morning to run!

Before long we were gathering at the start line and anticipating the starting gun.  Just before the gun went off, Cindy told me she was going for 100 miles - she asked me what my plan was and at that exact moment the horn sounded.  lol!  I never did answer her.  My goal was to do better than I did 2 years ago with 83 miles.  24 hours is a long time, and knowing that the weather was going to get cold and possibly snow, I didn't want to commit to the magic "100" number, but deep inside, that is what I wanted.  

Cindy Tim and I
The day was beautiful.  Started off in a long sleeved shirt and my "team buttercup" short sleeved shirt over top of it.  Perfect running weather!

  ~  Fun  ~  Laughter  ~  Friends  ~  Humor  ~   Those are the 4 words I would use to describe the daylight hours of this race.  Everyone was having a good time clicking off the miles and encouraging each other on.  That to me is what ultrarunning is all about.  That is why I love to be part of this running community.  

I brought my same fuel plan that I had at Hinson Lake - drinking a protein drink every hour.  I relied on that for the most part, and supplemented some gatorade and a few snacks from the aid station.  Tim had me drinking gatorade or water most every lap to keep me hydrated to the point that I was having to go every few miles - thx man, but I am not going to dry out - lol!! 

Tom, Pam and I - I love the joy in this pic!
Tim and I were clicking off a lot of miles and ran with a lot of great friends.  He managed to get one lap ahead of me on one of my extended aid station breaks, but we ran together after I got back out there.  

I was very excited to see my name on the leaderboard early on.  I was tied for 7th at 1:00pm and by 3:00pm I was tied for 3rd.  :)

The sun started to go down and the night was beginning to close in.  I had to put on a windbreaker to keep warm.  

I hit my 50 mile mark well before my goal at 10:15.  Crushed my former PR of 10:45 that I hit at Hinson 6 weeks prior.  I was ECSTATIC!  I figured I had a lot of time to tough through the night hours.  I did a compete change of clothes and shoes and headed out into the night with Tim.  

50 Miles Done!  :D
Humor kept us going through the early hours of the morning.  I was doing my fair share of singing too - lol!  It is great when you have someone to run with.  I told him that with him and I working together we were pushing each other on to do far better than we would do on our own.  TRUTH!

I think it was about 2:00am and I was at the aid station and it SNOWED!  OK, maybe it was more of a brief flurry, but still, it snowed!!   How cool is that!  :D  It was also at that time that I had moved into second place on the leaderboard.  woo!

I am not exactly sure what time it was, but I realized that unless we picked up the pace, the 100 in 24 plan would not happen.  I told Tim to go on because I did not have it...  He was concerned about leaving me as he knew I was starting to struggle but I sent him on - I knew he wanted that 100 and he would have to do it without me.  He took off and started off after that dream....  

The temps were dropping.  I was thankful to have a warm coat - my core was not cold.  I had my MTC buff around my neck and pulled it up over my nose to keep my face warm.    The wind was picking up and was stirring up the dust on the trail.  It was tough going....

After a while it really started to get really rough.  I was getting frustrated with myself that I could not keep a faster pace but still pressed on.  The temps were dropping just like my pace.  The wind was picking up, blowing the dust around, and it was cold.   My iPod was dead and I had no one to run with.... I pulled out my phone and called a friend who I knew would be up.  They told me to think about that song "Sunny and 75" lol!  yes, that is one of my favorite songs, but it was not sunny and 75.  It was dark, windy, cold and 20 something degrees.  I could not get out of the funk I was in.... I was having issues with my Achilles hurting - not sure if it was the cold weather or what, but it hurt - a lot!  I backed off the pace to not make it hurt worse and cause further damage.  I was also dealing with blisters.... again....  they never completely healed up from Hinson, and they resurfaced again at OBX. 

I was still holding on to second on the leaderboard. First was out of the question.  I was far too slow to even think of that.  The only thing I could do is keep moving to hold that second spot and not fall to third.  That is one thing that kept me motivated not to quit.  Also my stubborn self that would not quit 20 hours into a 24 hour event....

Tim passed me several times out there.  Each time I cheered him on.   There was one lap where he passed me, and when he turned to look at me I saw it in his face how much he was struggling.  My heart sunk.  I knew where he was at.  He was pushing through some tough stuff to get those miles in.  I encouraged him the best I could, told him that he was doing great, he was on pace and to keep going! 

Finally that sun started to come up.  I knew that 8:00am would be coming soon!

I grabbed my fleece blanket from the car and walked a couple laps with Paul.  Very reminiscent of 2 years prior when we did the same thing.   :D

2 very tired runners!
I completed my 96th lap with about 5 minutes to spare.  I did not go out on the stick lap cause I would have had to go up that hill and I was not about to do that again!  lol!  

I saw Tim at the finish.  He completed his 100 in less than 24 hours.  Very proud of how he did.  Crushed his time from when he ran 100 at Umstead. 

So I called it a day at just over 91 miles.  I completed my goal of running more than 83 miles from 2011.  2nd female, 7th overall.  

Suck it up Buttercup!
The RFH Team Buttercup racked up some impressive mileage. Amy Surrette, Carol Meath McClain, and Marcia Godwin made their debut run with the Team Buttercup. 

Bill Keane 92.04 miles … 6th Place
Amy Surrette 91.24 miles … 2nd Woman and 7th Place Overall
Marcia Godwin 50.37 miles … 43rd Place
Carol McClain 41.82 miles … 66th Place 

275.47 Total Miles - enough miles to beat VT's cross country team ~ per Wm Keane :)

Yeah, I was disappointed that I didn't make 100, BUT I have to keep some perspective here.  I just ran the OBX marathon.  I had also ran 103 miles at Hinson Lake 6 weeks prior.  Add in the weather and blisters - yeah, all things considered, I should be happy with it...  

One thing I noticed in the days following the event as the pictures were posted on FB is how happy I was in every picture.  I have been working through a lot of stuff and it has not been easy, but to see the happiness in my face is encouraging.  Glad the cameras were not out in the wee hours of the morning tho - lol!  Just sayin.... ;)  no one is too happy at that hour! 

CR24 is a deceptively tough race.  Having run this race twice, I am trying to figure out what makes it seemingly difficult.  There is that "just one hill", the cold weather, the gravel is a good surface for running, but the grit builds up in your feet and when the wind picked up it stirred up a lot of dust.  I think one of the toughest things is the long hours of darkness.  The sun goes down early and comes up late....  Its not like a summer ultra when the sun goes down late and comes up early. 

I will most definatly be back. Top notch race - great swag, very well organized.  I have some unfinished business here.  One day I will finish 100 on this course. :) Til then, I will be happy that I made it to the VA record books again for most miles run in 24 hours - this time in another age division:


couple added side notes from Wm Keane's research:

"You had a fantastic 24 considering the differences between HL and CR. I have connected a few dots that tell a compelling story:

1st Male ... HL 141 miles ... CR 103 miles

1st Woman ... HL 114 miles ... CR 98 miles
You ... HL 103 miles ... CR 91 miles
Me ... HL 101 miles ... CR 92 miles
Night Temps .... HL 70 degrees ... CR 24 degrees
Wind ... HL 0 mph ... CR 15-25 mph
Daylight ... HL 12 Hrs ... CR 10 hrs

The big difference was temperature and daylight."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

OBX Marathon November 10, 2013

this mama is way proud of her babies!  :D
I have run the OBX marathon 3 times.  Its one of my favorite races.  My first half marathon was here in 2008.  Going into it my goal was set at BQ (as every marathon has been this year).  I knew it was a long shot as I had not specifically trained for this race, but I was in good shape.  Was just hoping that my fitness level could carry me through.  

I drove down Friday and stayed with Lisa.  Saturday I met up with Andy and the kids.  Three of them were doing a 5K and my youngest was doing the fun run.  They all did great!  I was so proud of them!  I love to see my kids setting goals and accomplishing them :)  Drew was disappointed that he did not get podium.  He was 4th in his division.  ugh, I know the sting of being in 4th.  It is no fun :(

I went back to the beach house and took an hour n a half nap.  YES!  A much needed nap while the kids hiked Jockeys Ridge.  I picked them up later on and went to the spaghetti dinner at Kitty Hawk Baptist - yep, that is my tradition!  They had the usual church service afterwards which I really like as well.  It helps me to gain a better focus on my race the next day...  (The folks there know me from prior years and they were out there on the course cheering me on.)

ugh, bluelights in the rearview
After I dropped off the kids I got caught speeding down on the roads in Kitty Hawk.  I was only going about 4 over in a 35, and what is weird is I knew I was only going to get a warning before I got pulled.  There was another cop up the road with someone else pulled over, and it seemed to me that it was more of a DUI check stop than anything, but THANK YOU SIR for not giving me a ticket! However, I am upset that you called my Jeep a station wagon on the written warning....  :s  Had I been in a Wrangler this would not have been an issue....  ha!

Woke up early the next day and caught the shuttle to the start with Joey.  Met up with Karla and saw many other familiar faces at the start - way to represent MTC!  Waited in a line nearly a mile long for the port a jons....  but at least it was movin fast.  

Joey n I at the start
We lined up at the start and within a few minutes the Elites were off, followed by us in corral A.  I felt strong, kept a good pace for the first couple miles right at 8:30 and 8:15.  At mile 2 Joey sent me on my way and he went back to run with Karla.  I kept up a good pace for the next 9 miles.  Kept it between 8:00 and 8:20.  The next 3 miles (10-13) were through a wooded area and was trail.  I knew I would slow down in this section and I was not worried about it as I figured I could make the time back up once I was back out on the road.  

Somewhere along this path through the woods I took a slight detour into the woods instead of hitting a port o jon.  Oh my goodness if I didn't trip over some briars and fall onto my knees!  LOL!  No one was behind me, but if there was a camera about I am sure it would have been more than amusing...  

Made it to the half way point right where I wanted to be at 1:50.  If I could keep the pace, I would be right at 3:40 for a sub BQ finish.  

Thing is, I was not able to get back to that 8:15 pace.  It has started to slip to 8:30 - 8:45.  I was not getting discouraged, because even if I held that I could still qualify with 3:45.  

Soon I started to feel lousy.  My legs were not responding to my increased speed attempts, and my stomach was not doing well with the gus. In hindsight, it was probably because my heartrate was elevated for far too long on the first half and I could not keep it going that high for that long...  It was at 170 for 17 miles. I stopped at an aid station and got some Tylenol, hoping that it would help, but it didn't seem to touch it.  I realized with every slowing mile that this was not the race I was going to BQ at.  I was mad.  My pace started going slower after mile 17.  After a bit my stomach started to recover so I was not as concerned about a gu reversal, cause for several miles I was not feeling well at all....

Somewhere around mile 21 I changed my attitude and tried to "have fun" with the rest of the race and at least sub 4 it.  My positive attitude quickly meet up with a fierce headwind going up the bridge.  Seriously??  For a moment, I contemplated jumping off (not really, but the thought was there), and thought to myself "running 100 is way 'easier' than this!"  Running a fast marathon is tough work... 

It was relentless.  Kinda a triple whammy - here's your bridge with a side of wind and sun....  :P  I was so glad to make the turn into Manteo and get out of the wind!!

bottom of the bridge 'runnin happy'
At the bottom of the bridge there was a rowdy aid station and they were playing "Sweet Caroline".  Ugh.  Tears stung my eyes at the sound of it, but I kept going....  grabbed some water and moved on.... 

By that point I had picked up the pace a tad and was ready for that finish line and ready to be DONE!

Loved the cheering at the end.  That ALWAYS helps.  I crossed the finish line and Drew was there - his face lit up and he said to me "Mommy!  You qualified for Boston!"  I just rested my head on his shoulder and cried.  I heard a few folks around us going "awww" and one kid asked their mom "why is she crying"  Her answer was "she just accomplished something very big"  Little did she know that I was upset for missing the qualifier, but ya know, she had it right.  I did accomplish something pretty big.  I managed a sub 4 marathon with very little training.  It took me years to finally sub 4 a marathon, and now I did it with just my fitness level.

I'm lookin a *tad* fit in this pic!  Thx Arrichion!
Disappointed with both of our times, Joey and I both dropped and did 26.2 push ups - yeah!  :D

I hung out with my kids for a bit then sent them on their way with their dad.  I then met up with Karla, Frank, Joey, Dave, Olga for a few post race hoppy beverages.

Joey and I caught the shuttle back to the start and headed off to the beach.  I have this tradition I have started that post race, if there is a beach, to jump in :)  so yeah...  Joey n I jumped into the Atlantic in November.  Missed you Rebecca and James!  Maybe next year???  It was awesome.  As a side note, the sound side was VERY rough - whitecaps and everything from the winds, but the ocean side was nearly flat....  

polar plunge!
soooo....  overall it was a great weekend.  No BQ so once again its back to the training schedule.  I have 10 more months to "run down this dream" of BQ'ing the year I turn 40.   To be honest with you, I don't like marathon training.  It hurts.  It takes a lot of time, and when things don't go right, you have to back  and start all over.  I tried many times this year and failed to reach that goal.  Not sure why things haven't quite worked out, but I think a lot has to do with what is going on in my personal life.  I hope next year will be a better year.  

I am SO SORE!!  Its Wednesday, and my quads are still killin me!  I was not this sore after Hinson Lake!  Running fast for any length of time is painful.  On top of that I ended up with a blister on my toe - really?  I don't get those usually until after 50 miles...  Hindsight I didn't put on the 2Toms that I usually do.  I loaned it to a friend and didn't get any more to replace it.  So, yes - 2Toms is GREAT at preventing blisters!  Looks like I might be losing 2 toenails too.

As far as 2013 goes though, I have PR'd my marathon time 3:49, my half marathon time 1:43, 102.89 miles in 24 hours, ran more miles this year than I have in any previous year and counting, and gotten stronger in the process.  Despite all the challenges, I managed to run a lot of them out, but not grasp the one I want most of all..... 

I am 5 minutes off.  Only 5.  I hope everything finally comes together at Myrtle Beach 2014.